This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

How Did Photography Shape Public Reactions To The American Civil War?

2167 words - 9 pages

Criteria A: Plan of Investigation
This investigation asks the question "How did photography shape public reactions to the American Civil War?” The investigation will take into account the leading photographers’ works of the time, such as Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner, and how the public responded to the images that were shared and what value the images had. It will assess the public reaction by looking at press publications similar to those of The New York Times and Harper's Weekly. Publications such as these evaluated the galleries of the artists what they provided for the viewers. The value of the photographs to today's historians is also taken into account.

Criteria B: Summary of Evidence
During the Civil War, many Americans wanted more than written descriptions of the epic battle in eastern Pennsylvania. They craved visual records- photographs of the fields where so many brave men, northerners and southerners alike, had fallen (Nardo 4). The press thrilled readers with its written descriptions of the exploits of these larger-than-life characters. But the average person knew little of a personal nature about them, including what they looked like (Nardo 45). [The photographs] provided a way for the people to see such living legends up close, to look them in the eye, so to speak, and get a glimpse of their humanity (Nardo 45).
Though the photographers would often stage their photographs, they are still witness to real events (Trachtenberg 73). What the photograph depicted originated, as everyone understood, in the world itself, not in the imagination-even if objects must be moved to realize the photographer’s intention (Trachtenberg 83). It defined and perhaps even helped unify the nation through an unrehearsed and unscripted act of collective memory-making (Rosenheim 1). We see the war not as heroic action in a grand style but as rotting corpses, shattered trees and rocks. Weary soldiers in mud-covered uniforms or lying wounded in field hospitals-as boredom and pain... The reality they depict is the reality of violence, the effect of shells and bullets on human flesh and bone... The photographs did bring home the reality of the whole event, but in the case of war the normal gap between sense experience and mental comprehension is stretched to an extreme (Trachtenberg 74).
In the Atlantic Monthly in January of 1863, Holmes wrote "let him who wishes to know what war is look at this series of illustration. These wrecks of manhood thrown together in careless heaps or ranged in ghastly rows for burial were alive but yesterday... The site of these pictures is a commentary on civilization such as the savage might well triumph to show its missionaries." (Taft 236). Photographs have the power to take the viewer back to another time in history. By looking at photographs from the Civil War, we can see the actual faces and places involved in this important moment in history (Stille 43). E. F. Bleiler spoke on Alexander Gardner's Photographic...

Find Another Essay On How Did Photography Shape Public Reactions to the American Civil War?

Photography and the Civil War Essay

2006 words - 9 pages as a “battlefield photographer”. The technological advancements in photography during the Civil War are noted in this investigation. Also, connections between the advancements in early photography and how Mathew Brady used these advancements to change the public perception of the War are explored. Different photographers from both the north and the south will not be explored in this investigation. Two sources (“Photographing the war” by Henry

How did the Spanish Civil War contribute to appeasement by Britain?

2036 words - 8 pages How did the Spanish Civil War contribute to the policy of appeasement by Britain?Until 1931 Spain, the poorest country in Europe at the time, was a monarchy however, as a result of deep divisions within society exacerbated by the military rule of Primo de Rivera imposed in 1923, the incompetent King Alfonso XIII abdicated. Following municipal elections a liberal government took power but the ensuing republic was immediately at risk from the

Mathew Brady's Photography of the Civil War

3647 words - 15 pages something very like it…” (New York Times 1862). Most people did not make it out of war alive to tell their story, so Mathew Brady told it for them. How did Mathew Brady’s photography of the Civil War change the Americans view on war? He showed people not only the reality but the brutality of war. Mathew Brady was an amazing photographer. He is considered the father of photojournalism and the greatest photographer of the 19th century. He is

Photography in the Civil War Domain Statement

1261 words - 5 pages (Nardo 27). Gardner took over Brady’s Washington D.C. studio in 1858. Gardner was the first to photograph dead soldiers. His main focus in most of his photos was the dead American soldiers. His disturbing and vivid photographs from Antietam were published by newspapers, offering a new personal involvement in the war by civilians (Sachs et al.), (Wala). Even though Gardner’s photos were a breakthrough in Civil War photography, they were

The Road to the American Civil War

1671 words - 7 pages The majority of speculations regarding the causes of the American Civil War are in some relation to slavery. While slavery was a factor in the disagreements that led to the Civil War, it was not the solitary or primary cause. There were three other, larger causes that contributed more directly to the beginning of the secession of the southern states and, eventually, the start of the war. Those three causes included economic and social divergence

How did Sino-American tension prior to 1951 trigger Chinese intervention during the Korean War?

2220 words - 9 pages did Sino-American tension prior to 1951 trigger the Chinese intervention during the Korean War, the research of this assessment examines the rise of Mao and his ideology in Communist China, the prewar Sino-American tension, China and America’s stances towards the Korean War, and the threat from General MacArthur and USA that directly caused China to intervene. Word count: [125] B – Summary of Evidence Rise of Mao Zedong

What did the Civil War bring to America?

2094 words - 8 pages ' speech to the Confederate Congress he included the phrase "All we ask is to be let alone", which inturn specified the most immediate, tangible Confederate war aim: defense from invasion." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 310).Slavery was not the major issue or cause for going to war. Slavery handicapped Confederate foreign policy. "The first Southern commissioners to Britain reported in May 1861 that "The public

The American Civil War

2224 words - 9 pages In 1861, the United States faced the Civil War which was one of the most costly in history. Hundreds of thousands American lost their lives. Decades before the war, the North and South developed in different directions, and several events took place that led up to bloody war of the nation. It originated from deep divides in economy, society, and politics. The central issue was slavery like the French politician Alexis de Tocqueville had observed

The American Civil War

1724 words - 7 pages The American Civil War, also known as the State’s War, was a conflict that arose mostly from the issue of slavery, but deep down was due to economic differences between the North and the South. The South seceded from the North and created their own self-government due to their belief in the lack of state’s rights versus the federal government and what they saw as a weakness in the Articles of Confederation. While the Confederacy of the United

The American Civil War

1753 words - 8 pages The American Civil War was a war that occurred from 1861-1865. The American Civil War, is also known as the ‘War Between the Sates’ and ‘Civil War’. The war occurred because seven Southern states declared their secession and decided to form the Confederate States of America. The other states which did not declare their secession were known as the “Union” or the “North”. Abraham Lincoln in 1860 at the presidential election Republicans opposed

The American Civil War - 6804 words

6804 words - 27 pages influential among historians and the general public until the civil rights era of the 1950s. The Beards downplayed slavery, abolitionism, and issues of morality. They ignored constitutional issues of states' rights and even ignored American nationalism as the force that finally led to victory in the war. Indeed the ferocious combat itself was passed over as merely an ephemeral event. Much more important was the calculus of class conflict. The Beards

Similar Essays

To What Extent Did Realism In Photography Impact The Public Opinion Of The Civil War

2081 words - 9 pages A. PLAN OF THE INVESTIAGTION This investigation explores to what extent did realism presented by photography impact the public opinion of the Civil War? The Civil War was the pioneer war in terms of actively using photography as a means of recording. The investigation focuses on photography’s role in capturing the war at face value. Photos of major battles and scenes that exposed citizens to the reality of war will be analyzed, as well as how

To What Extent Did President Lincoln's Decisions Shape The Civil War?

1866 words - 8 pages Section A: Scope of the Investigation The focus of this investigation will be: What are some of President Lincoln’s major decisions during the Civil War, and to what extent did they shape the war? The study will start chronologically at the beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s first term as President of the United States, and focus on who Lincoln picked as part his cabinet. The examination will then look at the start of the Civil War to its finish

How Did The Clash Between States Right's Vs The Union Contribute To The Outbreak Of The American Civil War?

588 words - 2 pages The clash of the two philosophies states' right's VS the union (South of USA vs the North), was one of the main contributing factors to the out break of the civil war in 1861. The North wanted a union of states lead by a federal government, and this clashed with the south's desire for each individual state to have its own individual rights. Abraham Lincoln, the president of the Union believed strongly in keeping the union together and would stop

How Photography Helped Change People's Opinions Of The Civil War

1131 words - 5 pages photography. In conclusion, the American civil war, photographed by more than 3000 individual photographers, had a huge impact on photography, while for the most part photography played a major role throughout the course of the war. Although civil war was recorded on numerous amount of books, Photographs taken during that time frame still seems have the power of influence and most people choose to believe in photographs, since they tell a story of reality. Doesn’t matter how gruesome or unpleasant most of them look, photographs from civil tend to leave a lasting impression even on people living in the present.